Prologue

Whether the fateful events of 10 years ago were a result of our own ignorance, or our own actions, I do not know, nor do I hope to demonstrate proof for either here. Whether the actions we took, the decisions we made, the orders we gave, the battles we fought, were justified or not, I also do not know. I do not seek to vindicate anyone of guilt. I do not seek to accuse anyone of guilt. I do not seek to explain anything, nor do I claim that I can. I am writing this account of that brutal conflict that resulted in today’s world, only in an effort to give you an unbiased narrative of what happened, for we cannot hope to move beyond these events if the unsullied, untarnished truth is not allowed to guide us.

My name is Mai Chaiprasit. I was once a pilot in the Ayothyan Royal Air Force, during the War. Some of you already know who I am. But this is not about just me. I have collected the experiences of others whom I knew or could get in touch with to write what will hopefully be a comprehensive narration of the events of 10 years ago.

The year was 2994 when it all began. What some call the Mahayudh, others the Weltkrieg, had not yet started. Hell, this was even before the Fall and well before the Civil War. While it wasn’t quite a time of peace, it was a fairly quite time. 80 years had gone by since the Great War (otherwise known as der Krieg der Reihenfolge). Younger people like myself had forgotten the Great War while the older people were finding themselves surprised that 80 years had gone by. The older folks from those days like to tell us now that the real seeds of the Mahayudh were sown in 2914, when The Usurper first appeared in the VKR during their succession crisis.

Any school child knows the events of the Great War, how The Usurper seized power, prayed on the fears of some in the populace, silenced others with his cybernetic army, beginning his ethnic cleansing campaign, then invading Weimar, then Arika, while letting the Confederates invade Aurelia and holding the Cloud Federation hostage to launch attacks on the Surya Empire. The giants of the world clashed while those unfortunate enough to get caught in the way were trampled like grass. The “Great Campaign” ended in failure when the Confederates were forced out of Aurelia and The Usurper’s “Administratum” was forced to retreat into the EM Zones and out of the VKR.

In those days, in 2994, most people were convinced that The Usurper could not possibly come back. No one had survived in the EM Zones for more than 3 days, let alone 80 years. No, in those days, folks had other concerns. The Surya Empire and the Cloud Federation were in a sort of cold war that scared the Federation more than it scared the Empire. The VKR was concerned that their interests in the Arika continent were being threatened by the then rising force of the Mughal Sultanate, who at the time were more of a militant organization rather than a proper nation state. The Aurelians were doing their usual work of making profit in whatever means possible, much to the ire of the Tharsis Confederacy. In our small Kingdom of Ayothya life was as good as it could have been. As a small mining state near the fringe of the EM Zone, nobody paid us much attention as while our resources were important, the only nearby state that could benefit without taking too much cost was the Surya Empire. We had good relations with the Empire, who were our biggest buyers and frequently gave us good deals. We never had the concerns of larger nations. Sure, every once in a while we had to stop the marauding kankals that came through the EM Zone, but for the most part, people were happy (perhaps even happier than the larger nations) as could be, whether they were in the mining villages, or in the larger port cities.

Then the Royal Ayothyan Army Corps of Engineers reported picking up strange signals. At first, they were too weak to pick up in anywhere but the EM border towns. But then they started getting stronger. It was confirmed that the signals were originating from deep within the EM Zones. The signals were at the time completely incomprehensible to anyone in Royal Military. But that was not the strangest part. The strangest part began when the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Lakshman picked up something within Ayothya responding back to this mysterious signal.

The entire matter went straight to the King. Then orders came directly from the King to us. The Royal Air Force was ordered to send fighters to investigate the source of the signal. And that is where my story begins…

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